Psalm 119:28 says,
My soul melts from heaviness; strengthen me according to Your word.
If you want strength from God, you have to get into His Word. That is the main place you will find it.
John wrote in 1 John 2:14,
I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you.
In the book of Joshua, in the first chapter, Moses has just died. Joshua now has the responsibility of taking Israel into the Promised Land. They have spent 40 years out in the wilderness. An entire generation has died off. Still, they are not there yet. Even Moses himself, this leader who was bigger than life, failed to enter the Promised Land.
Now Joshua looks back at what God has done. Certainly, there were some miraculous and wonderful things, but Joshua also sees a history of failure. His mentor failed to enter into the Promised Land. All the people he grew up with have died in the wilderness. It is a daunting responsibility that Joshua now has to attempt. It is his turn to try.
Here is what the Lord says to him in Joshua 1:6–9,
“Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
God tells Joshua three times to “be strong” and to meditate on His Word day and night. The word meditate means to reflect upon and to turn over and over in your mind. However, the Hebrew word translated meditate here is actually more than that. It carries with it the thought of muttering or murmuring to yourself over and over and over.
God was telling Joshua not to let His Word depart from his mouth but to speak it as he reflects upon it. God was telling Joshua to think about it, read it, and recite it to himself—to speak it over, and over, and over, and over, and over. God is saying that is what makes your way prosperous. That is what gives you success.
You see, God’s Word is supernatural. Jesus said His words are spirit and life. The apostle Paul said God’s Word is God-breathed and that God’s strength comes to you and me as we read it and reflect upon it. I think some of us, when we get to heaven, are going to realize we could have had so much more. We could have been used to a greater degree, but we were divorced from having a love affair with God’s Word, and it cost us so dearly. Yet, we won’t know that until we get into heaven.
I’m telling you that God’s Word is an amazing source of strength. It is how faith comes into your life. You may remember the old Popeye cartoons from way back when. Do you remember Bluto? He was Popeye’s great nemesis. They would be fighting, and Bluto would be beating the heck out of Popeye … until he ate what? Spinach. All of a sudden, Popeye would get strength and win the day.
God’s Word is your spinach. If you feed on the Word of God, it will bring the strength of God to you.
One year when we were taking a family vacation, we were in a rental house together with all the kids and grandkids. On the first night, we are sitting around talking and a mouse suddenly ran right in front of us. I thought, That wasn’t in the brochure. A little while later, vroom! The mouse ran back across. For a week we battled that mouse. We couldn’t catch it.
It was like Mighty Mouse, this little bionic mouse. It would run behind some stuff, and we would say, “Got you!” Then we would move the stuff, and it wouldn’t be there. That mouse was so fast. I was determined that before the week was up, we were going to get that little guy—but we never caught that mouse.
Every night, almost like clockwork, we would sit down and the mouse would run across the floor right in front of us. I thought about that mouse in comparison with another one I found once. I was clearing out a field for someone and found an old Coke bottle under a bunch of brush. I looked in the bottle, and there was a mouse stuck down in the bottom. Apparently there had been a little Coke in it and the mouse had gone down inside because of the smell and but then couldn’t get out. I felt so sorry for him. I broke the bottle, and that little mouse just sat there. It could barely even stand up.
The difference? Our little bionic mouse in the vacation house had lots of food, but the mouse stuck in the bottle had no food. God’s Word is food and strength for your spirit. God’s strength will come to you as you feed upon the Word of God.
Choose a passage from God’s Word and commit it to your heart. Write it on note cards, and put them around your house, car, and office. Reflect on it several times a day, and try to memorize it. Then, do another one. See how many passages you can memorize in a week, a month, and even a year! You’ll be amazed what happens as you feed on God’s Word for strength every day.
Continued in part four.